Today the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight is trained on the lovely Danielle Vega. Her first YA novel, The Merciless, is a suspenseful tale about mean girls and possible demonic possession that will keep you turning pages long into the night (pro tip: don’t read it when you’re home alone). Intrigued yet? Check out our interview with Danielle, who is warm, funny, and totally not as scary as her novel:
Name: Danielle Vega
Novel: The Merciless
Available: June 12, 2014
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead?
It’s scientifically impossible for a writer to choose just one favorite author, but since The Merciless is a horror novel, I have to give a shout-out to all the fabulous ladies who made the genre what it is today. We’re talking women like Mary Shelley and Ann Radcliff and Shirley Jackson. Anyone who thinks horror is a men’s game clearly hasn’t read their work.
What’s your favorite thing about your book?
So. Much. Pink.
Seriously, the cover is pinker than any horror novel has a right to be. There are lots of amazing things inside of the book, too, but I’m completely obsessed with the cover. Pink is the new black. Tell your friends.
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?
This is an impossible question. I’ve been staring at it for fifteen minutes. The most interesting people in fiction seem like they would be HORRIBLE in real life, and I’m supposed to spend an entire year with them alone on a deserted island? Maybe Robinson Crusoe? Honestly, I never read the book but he makes that awesome tree house, right? I want a tree house.
Where do you write?
There’s this funky little café a few blocks from my apartment (see above photo). If someone had come up to me a year ago and asked me to describe the perfect café, I would have come up with this place, right down to the mismatched chairs and smoked mozzarella and apple grilled cheese. I’m still kind of convinced it’s a figment of my imagination.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history?
I’ve always been partial to Nellie Bly, the female journalist who spent three days in insane asylum to expose the horrible treatment of the mentally ill. Check out her Wikipedia page if you ever want to feel really bad about all your achievements. I mean, I’m sure you’re really smart and everything, but did you endure three solid days of torture in the name of journalism? I didn’t think so.
She also went around the world in 72 days. Suck it Jules Verne.
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted?
I do tweet! Usually when I should be working. I think my funniest tweets are about my husband and how nerdy we are. Like, he named his umbrella “Oathkeeper” because we watch way too much Game of Thrones. And sometimes I plot sneak mushroom attacks when he’s cooking.
What is your favorite season?
Fall. I’m a HUGE fan of Halloween and sweaters and pumpkin everything. I think this might make me a stereotype but I’m really okay with it because who are we kidding? Sweaters and new boots are the BEST.
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go?
I really should be more creative than this, but I have a friend who’s spending ten days travelling around London and Paris right now (hi Courtney!) and I can’t stop thinking about how amazing that sounds. Aren’t you jealous? I’m super jealous.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I don’t know about rituals, but I definitely have quirks. Like, after I type a new paragraph I have to write it out longhand to make sure it’s right. And I have to give myself 24 hours to digest my editor’s notes before I start working on a new draft. And all the animal sacrifices I do before starting a new book. You know, normal stuff.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
I never feel better than after a good day of writing, when everything just kind of clicks and I’m really proud of the words I put on a page. Those are the days to live for, especially when they also involve coming home to my aforementioned nerdy husband.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
The Decemberists, hands down. Colin Meloy is my everything. I really don’t understand why more musicians don’t sing about evil child butchers and people being swallowed by whales. What’s wrong with the world?
What are you currently working on?
Something really and truly horrific! I can’t say much, but I’ll give you three hints: an underground rave, New York City, and rats. So many rats.
Thanks Danielle! We’re excited – and scared, but in a good way – to read your next book! And speaking of scared in a good way, The Merciless is on sale today! Go read it now—you’ll get goosebumps from the very first page.
You can find Danielle online on Twitter and her website.
Add THE MERCILESS to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!
Purchase THE MERCILESS online here.
SO in love with this book. And this author.